Early internal poll results point to support for Kamla – Stars set to sweep UNC NATEX

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A man curiously looks at UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar as she casts her vote in her party’s national executive election at the Debe Secondary School on Saturday. – Venessa Mohammed

PRELIMINARY results in the June 15 UNC internal elections pointed towards the incumbent Star slate sweeping all 17 positions in the party’s national executive (natex).

While election results trickled in slowly, there were reports that the three incumbent deputy leaders, Dr Roodal Moonilal, Jearlean John and David Lee, had each received over 700 votes in La Horquetta/Talparo.

The same reports said the United Patriots slate’s deputy leader candidates Rushton Paray, Anita Haynes-Alleyne and Dr Rai Ragbir received 36, 40 and 38 votes respectively in the same constituency.

Other Star slate candidates recorded similar vote counts, while their Patriot rivals each failed to cross 100 votes.

Around 8.46 pm, the mood at Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s Siparia constituency office in Penal was upbeat, with supporters of the Star slate arriving in a buoyant mood.

A medley of pop and rock songs were played as Star slate supporters were confident of a massive victory.

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal with UNC supporters at the Debe Secondary School after voting in the party’s internal elections on Saturday. – Venessa Mohammed

Contacted at the Patriots’ office in McBean, Couva, Paray was not prepared to concede defeat.

“Too early yet,” he said.

The mood reinforced Persad-Bissessar’s earlier confidence that the United Patriots slate led by Paray will lose the elections.

She was also reiterated that she would remain the party’s political leader when the elections were over.

Persad-Bissessar made those statements to the media after she voted for the incumbent Star slate at the Debe Secondary School on June 15. Asked if she would accept the results if the Patriots won the elections, Persad-Bissessar said, “I will accept the results – but they will not win. The trend so far has been very clear. I cannot see that happening.”

She added, “We had a wonderful sunny day and I’m sure all the stars will shine very brightly tonight.”

Asked what would happen on June 16 when the elections were over, Persad-Bissessar said, “Tomorrow I will still be the leader of the UNC. Today we have competition. Tomorrow, we put on our boots and we get ready to take on the real enemy. The real enemy is the PNM.”

Asked if the members of the Patriot slate still have a place in the party after the elections, Persad-Bissessar said, “That is for them to decide.”

She recalled that Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally had reportedly said the Patriots’ campaign would continue after the elections.

Persad-Bissessar said she would wait to see what that means. Rambally is aligned with the Patriots slate.

On Saturday, Persad-Bissessar also said there was a low level of campaigning in the elections and some over-zealous campaigning in some stations.

Voters wait in line at Hillview College during the UNC’s national executive election on Saturday. – AYANNA KINSALE

“I’m told MP Paray went into the voting station, refused to leave the voting station and was basically harassing and intimidating persons in that station. Eventually that was resolved.”

Persad-Bissessar said the matter had already been raised with the election management committee.

In a response to this claim, Paray said he was in his Mayaro constituency dealing with voter irregularities.

He said he went to vote in Rio Claro at 9.30 am but could not vote until 5.30 pm.

Paray promised to deal with a number of voting concerns raised by UNC members, once the ballot count ends.

Also on Saturday, there were issues of electoral lists reportedly being queried and an instance at a polling station where supporters of the Star slate were put out.